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Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Published April 19, 2024

‘The enemy is profit, together we will stop it’: Protesters rally for justice from the Board of Regents

A group of over 50 students marched from the McNamara Alumni Center to Northrop, demanding that student, faculty and staff voices be heard at the “People over Profits” rally.
Image by Shannon Doyle
Celine Jennings of UMN Climate Strike speaks to protesters at Northrop Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 30.

Over 50 people marched Friday from the McNamara Alumni Center to Northrop to express dissatisfaction with the University of Minnesota Board of Regents on a range of issues.

Speakers at the rally criticized the regents for not providing students with tuition refunds for online classes or offering the same grading flexibility of the spring semester despite worsening COVID-19 conditions.

Executive Vice President and Provost Rachel T.A. Croson announced on Friday that students will now have the option to change the grading basis for their classes until Nov. 30. However, unlike last spring, any classes taken pass/fail will not count toward major or minor degree requirements

Students also expressed frustration about the board’s lack of engagement with students, faculty and staff on important campaigns, such as defunding and disarming the University of Minnesota Police Department.

Leaders from UMN Climate Strike, Uprooted & Rising Minneapolis, Minnesota Higher Education Worker Center and Students for a Democratic Society collaborated to organize the rally.

“In our conversations with various people from the administration, the same thing kept coming up, which was that the Board of Regents has the final say on everything, and their hands are tied, and it’s not in their control,” said Sydney Murray, co-lead of UMN Climate Strike.

At the rally, many protesters held signs that read “People over Profits” and “Why are you so afraid of student power?”

“I firmly believe that as students who are paying to be here, students are the most important stakeholders of the University and should have the strongest voice in the decisions that are made, and we just don’t,” said Savannah Wery, co-lead of UMN Climate Strike.

Lauren Hagert, a fourth-year student and protester at the rally, said she joined the rally because she wants more resources on campus.

“I self-fund my own college and for me, being here is a statement to the U to look out for low-income students and especially for [Black, Indigenous and people of color] students who already have so few resources on campus,” Hagert said.

Because the Board of Regents is composed of mainly white men, BIPOC, gender non-conforming and transgender voices are left out of conversations about important policy decisions, many students and speakers at the rally said.

“Making sure that we are giving space for [BIPOC] voices is important because those are the voices that the regents are disregarding the most because the Board of Regents is also very white and very male,” Wery said.

Students also pushed for faculty unionization, the termination of the University contract with Aramark as well as divestment from fossil fuels and Israeli corporations that protesters said are complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights.

Along with the organizers, student advocates representing groups like Students for Justice in Palestine said they hope the rally will spark change in the administration.

“Long term, we would like to have some sort of intervention in the [Board of] Regents selection process because the whole process is undemocratic as students are not involved in the selection process, and they make all of these decisions that affect students,” Wery said.

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  • Tom
    Nov 8, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Just the kind of meaningless nonresponse I’ve come to expect.

  • Tom
    Nov 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    You’ll never shut up because you’re an unreasonable old fool with a distorted view of reality and your importance within it.

  • Tom
    Nov 8, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Yeah you’ve said that several times already and I keep waiting for it to be true.

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 8, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    My apologies, Tom, I wasn’t clear: I meant this whole thread sounds about ‘white’, including my “contributions”.
    I sincerely am interested in finding out why people like you and Rusty only come on the Daily to trash talk the undergrads and anyone who is supportive of them (Seriously, what did the undergrads ever do to you? Just tell us, we’ll listen) and why you so readily leap to anger and insults and refuse to let go. This conversation is going nowhere, though, so I’m calling a truce and I’ll leave you to have the last word. Cheers and best of luck to you.

  • Tom
    Nov 8, 2020 at 9:23 am

    I’m good.

    Again, I blame people like you directly for helping republicans maintain control the US senate in addition to the MN state senate.

    You’ve done nothing but hurt your own cause and you need to do everyone a favor and shut up.

    Or shut down an interstate or something while chanting mindlessly. That’s yielding such positive change so far right?

  • Tom
    Nov 8, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Seriously – the fact that you think that response is clever is… wow.

    You write and reason like a 15 year old who thinks she’s realllll smart.

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 8, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    LOL. Sounds about white : )

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 8, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Fascinating perspective, Tom. Speak your heart! Based on the way you respond, you’ve clearly got things you think others should hear. It sounds like you’ve got some ideas for how to improve things, although it also sounds like you’ll never not be disappointed, angry and with a handful of fingers to point. You might never engage with me on this thread again but thanks for all you’ve shared thus far. Also, just fyi, there’s not a single thing you can do or say that will ever shut me or people like me up. We rise and shine with the sun. Take care.

  • Tom
    Nov 7, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    You should spout more meaningless ideological dogma. It’s obviously a strength of yours.

    And I’m not sure why you think you speak for anyone except yourself and maybe a few highly suggestible students you’ve got marching in lock step.

    You and the rest of the idiot protesters/rioters just cost the Democrats control of the senate and around 10 house seats in a redistricting year. So I hope you’re proud of the the fruits of your labor. You’ve certainly made an impact. Congrats

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 7, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Well, Tom, I’m interested in a respectful dialog. So far, you and Rusty have just thrown insults and anger at those who think and behave in ways you don’t agree with. I understand; many of us are hurting and angry so emotions get high. When you’re feeling a little more calm and centered, maybe you’ll try again. Until that day, be well.

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 3, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Oh well, I tried. I appreciate you removing yourself from the conversation. The rest of us will carry on without you. If you change your mind, you know where and how to find us. Peace be with you.

  • CapnRusty
    Nov 3, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    It is absolutely pointless for me to attempt intelligent conversation with anyone who believes “The U.S. and the U of Mn were founded on intentional genocide that continues today. Anyone who enjoys any level of success at the U is benefitting from generations of colonization that profits off of stolen land; that fact will never change.”

  • Mary Pogatshnik
    Nov 3, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Rusty, calm down. As usual, you’ve really got this twisted. You love to pop up all over the Daily and the Strib, always with negativity. Maybe you’re paid by the word to do so. There is no need for you to speak this way about the undergrads. It is within your power and ability to communicate like a rational, mature adult. If you do that, you’ll find that you and the undergrads and the ‘radical’ instructors are on the same side and want the same thing = transparency, accountability, fairness, equity. You showing up in a jingoistic huff just to punch down makes no sense and does no good. The U.S. and the U of Mn were founded on intentional genocide that continues today. Anyone who enjoys any level of success at the U is benefitting from generations of colonization that profits off of stolen land; that fact will never change. We can change, though. Protesting is part of that. There is plenty of room for you to be a part of the reckoning, Rusty. Chill out with the insults and you’ll be more than welcome to participate in something constructive.

  • Veronica
    Nov 3, 2020 at 6:51 am

    OMG, the students are just figuring out the Board of Regents is disengaged? This has been happening for years, since I was a student. They are like many of the faculty, toxic masculinity and toxic femininity. The only way students will be able to achieve any reasonable benefits to students, is for the Legislature to legislate severe restrictions on the funding for the University and student representation on the Board of Regents. The U of M Twin Cities is a toilet of wasted funds and overpopulated with layers and layers of highly paid administrators and non-teaching “researchers”.

  • CapnRusty
    Nov 2, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    These privileged little kids playing “protester” in their playpen are totally unaware that the system which produced the greatest nation in history is under attack by their brain-dead peers, aided by radical professors. Meanwhile, the adults in America are concentrating on offsetting voter fraud by getting out the vote to elect a man who can save the nation.